I have heard it said that it is not the disciple that finds the Guru, but the Guru who calls the disciple when the disciple is ready?
Well, in rare cases the Guru seeks for a disciple, but generally it is the disciple who has to seek for a Guru. It is the thirsty who have to come to the riverside, seldom has the river ever gone to the thirsty. The disciple is the seeker, he is searching. Why should the Guru search for the disciple? What for? So that he may increase his tribe? No, no!
The essential features, the basic qualities and nature of the Guru, have been expounded in many books, particularly the beautiful Avadhoot Gita which many people do not know about. In the Upanishads and other works they say that the Guru or Sadguru has to be totally selfless, not expecting or anticipating anything from his disciples, neither their devotion nor their contribution-nothing. The Guru is supposed to be one who has achieved all desires by a process of realisation that desires are insatiable. You cannot satisfy or fulfil all your desires. There is a moment when you have to put an end to that. You go on desiring for one or two, ten or thirty or fifty years, and you decide that once your desires have become satiated you will not desire anymore, but wise people say it never happens, that desires can never be satiated. Therefore, those who have greater common sense, who have a greater understanding and wisdom, decide at a particular point in life - no more desires now! They close that chapter, and then they become desire less. It is hard for us to understand. When they become desire less suddenly the whole jumping and all the acrobatic fields of the mind stop.
Desire is the only propelling force that makes you think, that makes you work and work hard, that makes you practise Yoga even! That desire may be materialistic or spiritual. Well, a desire is a desire, no matter whether you have it for the ordinary, transitory, perishable, and the fleeting objects of life, or whether you have the desire for nirvana, samadhi or kaivalya; they are all desires. It does not matter which chain you hold in your hand, the golden chain or the ordinary chain. A chain is a chain. You are caught by a golden chain or you are caught by an ordinary chain. The state of desireless-ness is so difficult, and it is something which everybody has to think about. I am not saying that you should become desireless, but there comes a time in the life of some people when they must practise desireless-ness. Desireless-ness is one of the most important qualities of a Guru.
The word guru does not mean a master, teacher, or guide. The word guru literally means something having great gravity. Someone with great gravity is called a Guru. Why should such a one search for a disciple, and what for? That lame man, that paralysed fellow? A disciple is a lame chap, a blind, ignorant, idiot. Instead of searching for such a disciple a Guru would be better to go after some donkeys and buffaloes, because sometimes donkeys and dogs and bullocks are more unselfish, more innocent and more serviceable and docile than disciples. I have so much trouble with my disciples and some of them even want to boss me. They try, but sometimes they find it very difficult!
Swami Sivananda used to say that it is not possible for everybody to become free from desires, because desires are created through the forces and the laws of incarnation. It is also not good to become desireless before one's spiritual practices have matured, because if you try to become desireless now, after hearing this lecture, then a certain amount of stagnation will take place. Your evolution will stop, and you may even revert to the tamasic state of mind, inertia. Therefore, after having gone through the experiences of karma, after having faced the frustrations, disappointments, love and satisfactions and everything, and after having realised that these things are part of your life experience, then you should try to eliminate or minimise the quantum of desires.
Suppose there is still something which I have to fulfil, not because I want to accomplish it, but I have not yet worked out my karma. I am on the rajasic level, the dynamic level. At this time the best thing I can do is desire for others and not for myself. You can call it selfless desire, where your self is not involved, but you are desiring, thinking and wishing, not for yourself, but for others.
So, please do not wait for a Guru to come to your doorstep and say, "Come on". This is perhaps one of the excuses of a lazy disciple who thinks, "Oh, my Guru will come to Australia or to London or to my home". We have to prepare ourselves, just as we prepared this room for your arrival. It is a new building and it was so dirty! We were cleaning the whole day and night. Just as we prepared this room, exactly in the same way, the disciple has to prepare his mind, body, feelings and his entire personality in such a way that a great Guru might come and stay. Sometimes a great Guru may not be able to come, but some Guru of my standard will come and say, "One single room without any attached bathroom, okay I will stay with you". However, if you want a great Guru, then you must have a nice room with a suite, a nice bathroom with marble tiles and a good air-conditioner etc., so that he comes. (I am not of course talking about the room but about preparing the mind). So, the disciple has to prepare his own personality so that, not only his Guru, but even Divinity can descend.
In order to become the medium or the conductor of that divine energy you have to prepare yourself a lot. You cannot just hypnotise yourself and say, "God, I am Thy channel, flow through me". They are all auto-suggestions. They are good, they are not bad, do it. You should do it every day, because that helps you a lot, but that is not enough. Unless you install the copper wire the electricity cannot be conducted, frankly speaking. If you want to carry something from one place to another place you need something to carry it in. Exactly in the same way, to become the channel of saintly energy, (Guru), in order to become the channel of the divine energy, (God), you have to prepare yourself, and do not wait. Sometimes it happens that the Guru can force a disciple and say, "Empty all your rooms I am going to stay there!" But such an aggressive Guru, and such a humble disciple are very rare in this world.